That Certain Age

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: The Imaginarium
Cover image: pixabay.com

Please note: this story is also contained in 'The Imaginarium House Summer 2019 Collection'.

Submitted: June 12, 2019

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Submitted: June 12, 2019

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That Certain Age.

There comes a time for most people when they meet someone that they really, really want to impress. Often this is around early adolescence, and especially in rural areas this occurs in the classroom. But what about during the long holidays when there are just so many empty hours to fill.

Brynreague was a small town, a village really. Some might argue it no longer qualified as that any more, now that its only shop had shut its doors. Mostly made up of farm houses, with just the odd terrace, most of the land had now found its way in to one of two hands.

In spite of the decline in farming families, the number of agricultural vehicles that roared around the neighbourhood had increased four-fold. What with reclaiming the land, adapting the land, and getting every single cent from it as possible, these farms just seemed to thrive. And the two families, the Killorways and the McReadies, knew that they were the ones that counted round there; anyone else, well, they’d just have to go and fit in.

Back to summer though, and Mitchel Killorway was not looking forward to the holidays. As part of one of the two most powerful families around he felt he should be entitled to take it easy. No way was his Dad going to let him get away with that! He’d always find him plenty of jobs to do, so long as he could find the lad to tell him.

Bryce McReadie was both his best friend and biggest enemy depending on what was going on in the agricultural calendar. Although there was no shortage of kids vying to be their friends, apart from their own siblings no one else had quite the same...status. They could pick and choose, befriend and dump as often as they liked.

And then there was a new family in the village. Not especially well-off, they were buying a house bordering on to the Killorways’ land. Fionna, the only child, was about the same age as both Mitchell and Bryce, and both lads found themselves somewhat smitten. It was a rare occurrence to get new members in to the local community, pretty much unheard of for one so pretty as her.

Fionna had no problems in making a few friends among the local girls. Coming from a large town, she had a certain confidence about her, more of a knowledge of what was in fashion. Lots of the girls would be eagerly seeking her advice once school resumed, both Mitchell and Bryce decided it would be better to introduce themselves, maybe stake a claim, before the competition swelled at the secondary school they all now attended.

She was living on land bordering his family farm so Mitchell figured he had the upper hand. It was not so hard for him to arrange to bump in to her, to start a few casual conversations while dropping hints to his family wealth and importance. There was no harm in trying to impress the girl, was there? Bryce looked on, sullen at being beaten in the introduction stakes.

When the forage harvesters went out, the balers too, both lads would be expected on the fields. Old enough now to drive tractors off-road, Mitchell felt it was just another way to give a good impression. Once the work was complete, a group of them would gather in the fields, to soak up the sun while not flattening the grass. The land provided an excellent escape from parental demands and unwanted observations, but also a great opportunity to impress with physical prowess.

The bales were large, cylindrical in shape. Bryce, second before, would be first to climb a bale, to balance on the top and grab all the attention. And look they did, the girls, the younger lads, a slight look of admiration visible on Fionna’s face. Mitchell saw it, vowed that look would be aimed at him.

Picking the biggest bale he could find, an illusion for they were all the same, he climbed up on to the bale. Bryce leaped down from his own bale, cautiously observing Mitchell, trying to weigh up what he might do.

Trying to appear totally nonchalant, Mitchell stood up high, looking away from the others as slowly they all turned their attention to him. Facing the other way, it was strange that he knew when their interest had been grabbed but somehow he must have sensed it. He let his feet move nearer and nearer to the edge then launched himself upwards, curled himself in to a flip. He’d seen it done on the tv, but had never dared to try it himself. Not until he had Fionna to impress.

Did he know the ground was coming up to meet him, faster than his body was getting back in to an upright position? Could he tell that his impressive turn was about to become a painful flop?

Whether he knew or not, Mitchell landed with a thump. For a moment he dared not make a move. What if he had broken something? Satisfied that he had sustained no serious injury, Mitchell waited. Surely Fionna would be there, leaning over him in concern, stretching out a hand.

And a hand was stretched out towards him, just not Fionna’s. Bryce helped him up on to his feet and the two of them looked towards the backs of the retreating figures. The girls, the younger kids, were all walking away, their laughter drifting back.

You okay, Mitch?” Bryce asked.

Yeah...thanks, mate.”

Walking towards the opposite direction both lads kicked at the ground, feeling like in some way they were on the receiving end of the laughs.

Girls, huh!” muttered Bryce.

Yep, who needs them,” said Mitchell. But in his mind he was already trying to come up with another impressive idea.

 


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